Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has responded to the ripples of speculation surrounding Max Verstappen possibly joining the Silver Arrows in the 2025 season.
This comes in the wake of the recent announcement that Lewis Hamilton, after a triumphant stint yielding six titles with Mercedes, will make a high-profile switch to Ferrari in 2025.
While various names have been thrown into the ring as potential successors, including the likes of Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, and Alex Albon, the tantalizing prospect of luring the three-time World Champion, Verstappen, into the Mercedes fold has emerged.
Wolff, in a conversation with RTL, hinted at the prospect, stating, “We will always be committed to having the best conceivable driver duo in our cars. For that, we will not shy away from the various conversations either. We have now seen how quickly something can change. But having said that, we will respect existing contracts.”
Acknowledging Verstappen’s existing deal with Red Bull until 2028, Wolff stressed the unpredictable nature of the sport, where alliances can shift rapidly. “Drivers simply want to sit in the fastest cars. So in that respect, it is up to us to show that we can build the fastest car, in the short term, but also in the long term and in view of the new regulations. Perhaps opportunities can come from that. The ball is in our court,” he asserted.
Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko had already anticipated Mercedes’ potential pursuit of Verstappen, underlining the allure of speed that transcends contractual obligations.
As the anticipation builds for the 2024 season, Formula 1 aficionados eagerly await the Bahrain International Circuit’s revving engines during the official pre-season testing from February 23-25. It is on this 5.412-kilometre track that the teams will offer a tantalizing glimpse into the dynamics of the upcoming season, setting the stage for potential surprises and, possibly, blockbuster driver moves.